How to Establish a Salesforce Center of Excellence

By Heather Black

July 17, 2023
6 min read

Find out how to establish a Salesforce Center of Excellence within this week’s blog. Managing Salesforce is a team effort which involves participation from senior management, to the Salesforce technical team to the Salesforce champions within the departments. Over the next four weeks we are going to walk you through how to set up a Salesforce team for success so you Salesforce org is governed and managed effectively. 

To get a weekly notification of the up coming blog series, sign up to our Boost your Salesforce Career Bulletin.

Part 1 – How to establish a Salesforce Center of Excellence
Part 2 – How to hire a Salesforce Team
Part 3 – How to identify and upskill Salesforce Champions
Part 4 – How to set up a Salesforce Team with Roles and Responsibilities 

What is a Salesforce CofE?

A Salesforce CofE basically acts as a central governing body for the entire organisation. It brings together stakeholders from across the organisation to create a single, well-defined group that is responsible for making decisions when it comes to Salesforce. 

How to Establish a Salesforce Center of Excellence

To achieve success, the Salesforce CofE are responsible for allocating suitable resources and helping to determine priorities for investment and time needed to achieve this by the technical team. Within this blog we will look at the purpose, leadership and responsibilities a Center of Excellence. Without an effective Salesforce CofE, you may struggle to achieve:

  • Prioritise requests and workload
  • Get sign off for new products, features and requirements
  • Secure resources for developing the CRM
  • Get different teams/departments bought into the CRM
  • Design and roll out a CRM road map for the future.
  • Report on the ROI of the CRM
  • Maximise user adoption if communication is unclear

We wanted to share tips on how to set up a Centre of Excellence to make sure you have a good governance structure in place to support the ongoing planning, management and maintenance of your salesforce system to reduce user frustration and poor adoption.

We have summarised the key elements in the diagram below:

The Centre of Excellence is responsible for the CRM Strategy, managing governance and setting and evaluating the metrics of success. To achieve success, they are responsible for allocation suitable resources and helping to determine priorities for investment and time of the technical team.

Typically the group would meet monthly or quarterly depending on the level of transformation taking place.

What are some of the essential ingredients for a Centre of Excellence?

CRM Strategy, Roadmap & Action Plan

The CRM Strategy clearly outlines the business case and performance metrics that the CRM is expected to support with stages of implementation and justification for investment. It should facilitate decision making to create a detailed road map, agreed deliverables and a clear progress report on ROI. It is also great to use as a communication tool, as it serves as a high-level document that helps articulate strategic thinking—the why—behind both the goal and the plan for getting there to stakeholders.

Cross-Departmental Team Input

A CofE requires a cross-departmental decision-making team with bottom up and top-down representation.

  • An internal leader should be appointed as the Executive Sponsor. They will typically lead the COE representing the business vision, goals, and priorities.
  • Senior management representatives who are responsible for sponsorship, business analysis, compliance and/or adoption of Salesforce CRM within their department or cross-departments.
  • Salesforce Technical/Project Lead – Will have oversight of the roadmap, project development and the backlog informed by on the ground business analysis and the technical implementation team. They are responsible for communicating new requirements, agreeing prioritisation, and reporting on work in progress or completed.
  • Agile Project Management Lead – Will manage the what, when and how things will be scheduled for implementation with oversight of internal and external influences.
  • Change Management Lead – Will manage a communication strategy to communicate the why, what and when of digital transformation changes, with input from senior exec level to the salesforce team.

Investment in Business Analysis

The Salesforce Technical/Project Lead will prepare for these meetings by collating high level requirements, estimated effort and the associated business case by working closing with a delivery team. Individuals may wear one or more hats in this function, but the common roles are:

  • Salesforce Champions are representatives within departments who oversee user adoption, identify challenges, uncover requirements, and report these to the senior managers.
  • Business analysts elicit detailed requirements with teams/departments to produce the business case and requirement log.
  • The Salesforce Technical team are responsible for building and managing the system day to day to understand progress, challenges, and outcomes.

The Role of an Executive Sponsor

The Center of Excellence needs a strong Executive Sponsor. How effective the Executive Sponsor is can be the make or break of the Salesforce Project, believe it not. If there is low Executive Sponsorship and they don’t perform the tasks needed it can derail the project from the start as the issues cascade throughout the whole project

  • Low Executive Sponsorship leads to Poor Communication
  • Poor Communication leads to Low Engagement
  • Low Engagement leads to Poor Design
  • Poor Design leads to Low Benefits
  • Low Benefits leads to Low Adoption

If you turn the situation on its head ..the project has the best chance of success.  

  • High Executive Sponsorship leads to Great Communication
  • Great Communication leads to High Engagement
  • High Engagement leads to Great Design
  • Great Design leads to Great Benefits
  • Great Benefits leads to High Adoption

The Executive Sponsor needs to understand their role and responsibilities and here is a quick summary of what we advocate in our Supermums Consultancy Skills Course. 

This series of content is taken from extracts of the new and upcoming book, “How to be a Super Salesforce Consultant – The A to Z Guide of How to lead a Salesforce Project

To stay up to date with release dates, special offers and secret chapters that you can unlock, join the VIP Waiting List.

Come along to our Salesforce Awesome Admin Experience Week

To learn more about ‘How to Form a Salesforce Team’, join our Awesome Admin Experience Week from 17 – 20 July.

It’s fully virtual, packed full of tips and advice from Supermums CEO and Salesforce Partners, and you can also benefit from a FREE Action Plan Download on the 4 Roles and 40 Tasks of a Salesforce Administrator. 


Written By:

Heather Black
Heather is the founder of Supermums Recruitment and Training. With an extensive background in Salesforce Consultancy, Career Coaching and Training she is passionate about empowering people with the right skills, attributes and knowledge to be successful in their career.

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